Patio Pipedreams

Lafarge’s Dr Bill looks forward to summer

As summer finally stutters into being, people want to spend more time in the garden – and, naturally, improvements to the look and feel of the garden start to become the homeowner’s aspiration. So what should the savvy merchant be stocking and promoting, so that builders can satisfy their clients?

Barbecues and garden furniture go without saying, if they are in your product range; but what about the hard landscaping that goes alongside them?

There is an increasingly large range of pre-packed products available that can make the process of creating a permanent barbecue area or reinvigorating a tired patio simpler and less wasteful. Often these types of ready-to-use product only need the addition of water, taking the guesswork out of correctly proportioning the sand and cement.

Today’s clever packaging solutions (weatherproof, multiple sizes and formats) ensure nothing is spoilt by the odd shower of rain and that any material remaining at the end of the job can still be used another day.

Products available include: premixed bedding material for slabs, premixed mortar for laying bricks or pointing between slabs and even pre-bagged concrete in different strength grades. Of course there are also products designed for more specific jobs such as minor repairs or fixing posts (for fences or decking). Builders are increasingly realising that using these types of product on the smaller job is considerably less wasteful that mixing up mortar and concrete from scratch, which keeps their costs down.

Some of these products are also available in small bags or tubs. This is very handy for the builder or landscaper, who can keep one or two in the back of the van ready for the inevitable time that the material ordered for the job is insufficient, or to sort out those niggling little small jobs that crop up from time to time. Using folded-over plastic bags, or resealed tubs, mean that the material can be kept fresh for months.

So, it is well worth thinking about stocking and featuring pre-mixed ready-to-use products alongside the more traditional heavy-side building materials – and encouraging customers to trade up to these more specialist solutions.

Here’s hoping for a prolonged spell of warm sunny weather, both to lift the spirits and to maximise the opportunities for Britain’s builders and DIY-ers to do what they do best – Build!

Dr Bill price is technical manager at Lafarge Tarmac. Follow him on Twitter @ConcreteDrBill

About Guest Blogger - Bill Price

Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Tarmac’s Cement business

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